A good friend of mine, Ben from SeattleRainGutters.com stopped by for a beer last night, and we started talking SEO for his Seattle Gutters business. He mentioned that he read an article on our SEO Blogs site, and got him self to #1 on MSN for Seattle Gutters and top 11 on Google for Seattle Rain Gutters. He said he learned that not only is it important to write blogs about your business, but the clicks from Search Results pages to your site as important. He went on that Google tracks users behaviors and it’s really important that enough people click on your site. Wow way to go Ben! We did teach him about SEO, and now he is refreshing my memory, thank you sir. Now you too ban buy our marketing book and blog your way to the top of Google.
He also mentioned that his business for Seattle Gutters might increase another $20k this summer, if gets ranked in the top ten for the keywords “Seattle Gutters“. He went on to say that he does not advertise anymore, because of his SEO success. He did agree to bribe me with some fresh Seattle Gutters if I helped him get in the top 10 in Google for the keyword “Seattle Gutters“. Hence, I am making this SEO case study on his Seattle Rain Gutters business. But really, it’s more about how a small business has benefited from SEO and the power of Internet Marketing. Here is part of the chapter 6 about SEO basics from our book, hopefully it’s fresh enough to help your business too.
Blogcast Your Brand: Chapter 6 Cracking the (Google code) – technical nut shell:
If we don’t cover the technical aspects of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I feel we are not doing justice to the topic of this book. And if we don’t talk about Google, how can we be really call it a comprehensive book on search engines and marketing? Google is the #1 b2b and b2c marketing channel on the Internet, I don’t think anyone is doubting that fact. In fact, the cover story on the Wall Street Journal talks about Google and it’s advertising influence.
The hard balance for us is what to cover technically and what to leave out. This is not a book for techies, programmers, or Internet Technorats as I call them. This book is targeted at individuals, entrepreneurs, self-help types, marketing consultants, and business people who want a primer on the sound and ethical search marketing strategies.
We also want to summarize the key aspect of the Google Algorithms, and simplify them for the common women or men! Remember we are helping Google by doing this, Google’s main job is to provide up to date and great content. And, that is what being technically savvy does, I explain the Google Algorithm in a blog post a few days ago, it’s at the bottom of this chapter.
The Anatomy of a Search Engine
The link above will take you to the research paper by the founders of Google, it is hosted on the Stanford University website. It discusses in relative detail the problem that Google is trying to solve, and how it goes about doing so. Some of you are not technical SEO types, so you can pretty much ignore it. For some of you software engineer types, and the SEO Services people, it gives you real clues on what Google maintains as it’s core, which will never change, just enhanced. Those of you who want to know the intricate details of how the Google Algorithm ranks a page, it is explained in the above article. By in large the original system still is true within the Google back bone.
What has changed is the ability of the system to understand, spam links and many other types of tricks the unethical SEO’s have implemented over the years. Anchor text section is still in place as the most powerful SEO Tip, and writing good quality content is still king. So we will attribute Anchor text in links from high PR sites as the SEO Tip #7, the most powerful SEO strategy.
I was going to leave this post as is after the preceding paragraph, but I did some more searches on the “Google Algorithm”, and decided to add more clarity on what I see to be more accurate right now. If you are an SEO Services provider, and/or searching for the keywords “SEO“, you see us in the top 10. But prior to us, the kid genius as they call him, and Jedi SEO Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz.org was always in the top 10. He has written a good post on what he thinks is the Google Algorithm, he wrote it on 10-16-06, here is the formula as he sees it:
GoogScore = (KW Usage Score * 0.3) + (Domain Strength * 0.25) + (Inbound Link Score * 0.25) + (User Data * 0.1) + (Content Quality Score * 0.1) + (Manual Boosts) – (Automated & Manual Penalties)
KW Usage Factors:
- KW in title tag
- KW in header tags
- KW in document text
- KW in internal links pointing to the page
- KW in domain and/or URL
- Registration history
- Domain age
- Strength of links pointing to the domain
- Topical neighborhood of domain based on inlinks & outlinks
- Historical use & links pattern to domain
Inbound Link Score
- Age of links
- Quality of domains sending links
- Quality of pages sending links
- Anchor text of links
- Link quantity/weight metric (Pagerank or a variation)
- Subject matter of linking pages/sites
- Historical CTR to page in SERPs
- Time users spend on page
- Search requests for URL/domain
- Historical visits/use of URL/domain by users GG can monitor (toolbar, wifi, analytics, etc.)
Content Quality Score
- Potentially given by hand for popular queries/pages
- Provided by Google raters (remember Henk?)
- Machine-algos for rating text quality/readability/etc
Here is the link to the full post: Google Algorithm Post by SEOmoz.org
**Based on my understanding of the Google Algorithm, Here is a simple break down, the small factors are not as important for most people, so I am ignoring them. Also, I don’t see most people doing all four of them well enough, this is all we focus on and we consistently get ranked in the top 10 for very very competitive keywords. If you are not seeing your self in the top 10 for your keyword, than make sure you do all of the bottom four well.
(.40) Actual keywords in the domain
( for example for keyword “Weddding Photos” weddingphotos.com would rank very high, as long as it has proper title Tags, but mycompany.com/weddingphotos is ok, and still better than www.NorthernLightsphotography.com) This example is courtesy of our friends who run the Seattle Wedding photographers site, I always use them as example because for WeddingPhotos.com they are ranked #1 in Google. But, for their own keywords they are targeting “Seattle Wedding Photographers“, they are not in the top 10.
(.40) Anchor Text Links
( “Business Blog” Linking to MyTypes.com would be much better for ranking in “Business blog” than, “best business blogs“).
(.10) Meta Tags and Heading Tags of site
(Meta Tags are almost a requirement, and if you don’t have your keyword in the title it’s difficult to get ranked in it, but it is possible based on the other factors).
(.10) Content on site
(The more content the better, blogs are great, just the mention of the words such as blogs, news, report, reviews and forums helps a ton).
So much for the Google Algorithm, all I can say to the average person, (the non-SEO Services providers), don’t worry about the Google Algorithm, write lots of blogs, and promote your blogs in wikis’s etc, with lots of anchor text of course, of course.
Beyond the Google Algorithm
Having said that, and explaining this complex world of technical W3C standards, website structures, site maps, CSS, etc. is not covered here. We do recommend two book one is technical SEO for Developers via PHP. And, we also recommend Search Engine Optimization for Dummies by Peter Kent, written back in 2004, but it’s still a great primer, he has updated it. Back when I read it at the end of 04, I wrote to Peter thanking him for the book. In the book, Peter acknowledge his previous boss, Mike Higgins as his inspiration and support. As a weird coincidence with Mike now runs the Interactive division of the 4th largest news paper company in the country, and he is a friend of mine from my first Internet company that I started. So we want to support a friend of a friend, and SEO for dummies is a great book. We have done is simplify that and give you detail tools of blogging as we think blogs are the way of the future, and eMarketing. If you want to be a SEO Pro, you have to buy the SEOBook by Aaron Wall. It’s $79 and a complete guide on SEO.
So below is the net net on the technical SEO Nut shell, it was written originally for MyTypes, Inc. by our SEO Expert Mishra Saroj Kumar, but obviously I have gone through it and edited, re-edited and added a lot of information. But as in the previous example, we like to give credit to where it’s due.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the Organic results segment of Search Engine Marketing, and it does not include any pay per click advertisement. It is considered the Organic and pure search results, and is considered by many to be much more powerful in traffic than Pay Per Click results. Some research has shown that the traffic on Organic search results on Google are about 6 times the Pay Per click advertising. In fact, the Wall Street Journal article refers to rumors that the Google ads are being clicked a lot less recently. Getting Organic results is the science and art of Search Engine Optimization, and from now on we will write about it in terms of SEO. The word SEO is so common now days, some research shows that it gets 2-3 times the traffic of Internet Marketing. Regardless of that fact, I think it will only grow in popularity, the key distinction between SEO and other Internet Marketing segments is that it does not involve any paid advertisements.
The science of SEO helps blogs and websites gets top results on Internet search engines under targeted keywords and phrases. It’s as important to know what to do, as well as what not to do. In this brief overview, we cannot cover all the rules and technicalities of What not to do. All we can say is, if you are trying to trick the search engines, DON’T, It will cost you way too much in the long term. We recommend only timeless strategies such as provide the best content to end-users. Make your website or blog fast, use images, videos, and build community with your site. The spectrum of SEO ranges from Black Hat, as the trickery side or White hat as the purest way. We think from a scale of 1-10 if 10 is black hat, and 5 or more would be considered black. So we recommend strategies of top 1-4. The penalties that search engines may inflict on your website is not worth the short term gain. Here are the basics of SEO:
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. Domain Names, Titles and Keywords
2. Getting Your Web Page Titles Right 3. Keyword Selection Strategies 4. A word about Keyword Placement
5. Meta Tags 6. Turn Images From Liabilities To Assets – ALT Tag 7. Optimizing Your page content/copy
8. Use Keywords in Headings
9. Site structure: Naming File Paths
10. Be Fast: Using CSS to Minimize Page Load Time
11. Submission Strategies and Guidelines
12. Where to Get Links ?
13. Link Popularity, Page Reputation, and Page Importance
14. Six Major Rules to remember
1. Domain Names, Titles and Keywords One of the most basic, yet critically important, strategies is to use your best keywords in your domain address. An example would look like… http://www.seattlerealestae.com http://www.seattle-real-estae.com The reason for doing this is because search engines and directories assume the domain to be relevant to the keyword. It’s something that, in practicality, can’t be faked. Do not be afraid of using dashes in your domain name. The fact is that some directories and engines like domain names with dashes better than domain names without them. When researching possible URLs, if your desired URL is already taken in the dot.com variety, look to see if its available in the .net or .org category. Other possibilities include .us, or .biz. All of these are given equal billing with the engines and directories. The reason you’ll find fewer listings of the secondary domains (i.e., other than dot.com) is because, comparatively speaking, there are far fewer of them registered.
2. Getting Your Web Page Titles Right It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of your web page’s <TITLE> tag content in designing your web site. The first rule to remember is: Title is the most important aspect of web page design in respects to scoring well on most search engines.
Reason #1: Most SE’s look first for keywords that are contained within the title tags of your web page as such… <TITLE>Seattle Real Estate</TITLE>_
Reason #2: The web page title is what the search engine displays when they list your page in the results for a keyword search, Remember that you are also attempting to appeal to a “person” who is seeking your information, product or service in addition to attempting to appeal to the engines and directories. We’ll address both factors but first, let’s start with the various search engines themselves that your web pages must appeal to. When a “search” is requested through any search engine, the SE looks for the search word(s) contained within the <TITLE> tags first – and usually gives preference to web pages that have that specific word(s) within the <TITLE></TITLE> tags. Therefore, it’s usually imperative that you insert the “search words” (also known as keywords) that your potential customers are likely to use when looking for your service between the <TITLE> your title here </TITLE>
3. Keyword Selection Strategies BEFORE you design your web site or page, make a list of every possible search word (keyword) and search phrase (keyphrase) that your potential customers might use when looking for your information, product or service. Don’t waste your time starting a web site until you do this. It is critical. Remember to include synonyms as well as the common misspellings of your keywords and pay particular attention to noun phrases. Next, use these keywords and keyphrases to find your competition on the top search engines. Once you find who you will be competing with for the Top Ten positions in your keyword search, scour THEIR web pages for more keywords that you may have overlooked.
4. A word about Keyword Placement It is very important that you place some of your best “keyword text” on your web page before your images as viewed in linear order from the source code. That’s because search engines page content via the source code in linear order and they don’t give a hoot about actual images. Instead, they look only at the text on the page as revealed by the source code. Although images may look nice at the top of your page, they do nothing to help your site’s findability on the SE’s. Therefore, by placing meaningful small font keyword text at the top of your page – before your image – you can still place your logo near the top of your web site while favorably appealing to the SE’s that are looking for relevant keywords at the top of your page. Therefore, be sure to “Headline” your page with text that the search engines can recognize as relevant to what you are offering – AND place the text early in your page’s source code prior to where the images appear whenever possible. Remember, it is these keywords and keyphrases through which people will find you on the Internet. Keyword Selection Use a keyword tool to find the most targeted keywords for your site. Develop grouped themes of keywords that reflect the different sections of
your site. Keep an eye out for keywords longer than one word (phrases). Keeping within a grouped theme, choose different keywords to target each page.
5. Meta Tags For the novice it must be explained that Meta Tags are non-displayed text written into your HTML document intended to describe your page to the SE for the purpose of cataloging the content of your page. Although there is some debate as to whether or not Meta Tags should be included in your HTML document, let’s put the debate to rest. The answer is a resounding YES – the Meta description tag absolutely should be included in your document. Here’s why: many engines use The Meta description tag as the summary for your site when listed in the search results. It’s what tells a real person whether or not your site is relevant to their search. You should view it as a sales presentation for your link. If the Meta description tag entices the searcher they will, theoretically, click your link and visit your site. Obviously that’s the purpose for being listed in the search engine in the first place.
If you omit the Meta description tag then the search engine is likely to fabricate a description for your site based on arbitrary text gleaned from somewhere on your page. Here’s an example of a real-life “bad” description we found when searching for Hawaii scuba diving… Link Title: Hawaii scuba diving Summary Description: Click here to go …now, we’re pretty sure that company didn’t really want “click to go home” used as their site description but that’s what they got because they failed to use a meta description tag. Another possibility is that the SE will omit the summary description entirely if it fails to find something useful within your page to use as a summary. In either case, a potential site visitor is less motivated to click your link if you fail to properly utilize the meta description tag.
Meta Tag Character Limits Most search engines place a limit on the number of characters contains. Once the limit is reached they typically ignore In general, 250 characters – including spaces and commas thumb that falls within the guidelines of most engines. However, in case a search engine uses less than, say, wise to place the most important part of your description beginning in the event the engine truncates the tag. Meta Keywords Tag The META Keywords Tag is where you list keywords and keyword phrases that you’ve targeted for that specific page.
6. Turn Images From Liabilities To Assets – ALT Tag The problem with images in your web page is that the search engines do not index them at all. Therefore, your company logo may say what you are, who you are, and even state a benefit but the engines can’t index your images and therefore will not reflect their message in a keyword search results. In fact, if your image loads higher on your page (when viewing the source code) than your text, then your page starts out handicapped in a BIG way! This is a mistake. Whenever possible, avoid placing images higher on your page than keyword text. Regardless, when you do put images in your page, make them work for you, not against you by including the < ALT = here are some appropriate Keywords”> in your <IMG SRC = “image”> tags. The reason for doing this is because engines have been known to index the <IMG ALT = “Keywords”> tag. By placing strategic keywords within the <IMG ALT = “Keywords”> tag, you’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose. When a search engine’s algorithm is programmed to give credit for keywords within this tag, you win. If not, nothing lost – since none of the engines are known to penalize for using it.
7. Optimizing Your page content/copy Optimize Each Page One of the most important things to understand is that each page is its own unit and has its own ranking potential and its own relevant keywords. Usually a home page has more value than the other pages since it is typically the easiest place to build links to. Home pages should generally be optimized for the most relevant competitive keyword phrases in your market that you feel you would be able to rank for. Interior pages should be optimized for other relevant phrases that relate to the content of each page.
Home Page Optimization Target your most competitive keyword phrase with the home page. Link to the major theme pages from your home page. Link to your home page from every page of your site. Include your site name and/or home page’s primary keyword phrase in the text links pointing to it. Use your keywords in your page title. Place the most important keyword phrase close to the beginning of the page title. Do not put your site title on every page of your site unless you are really trying to brand that name. In that scenario, it still is usually best to place the site name at the end of the page titles. Shorter site titles are usually better than really long ones. Sometimes I overlap related keyword phrases in the page title. Overlapping, keyword phrases in the page title can help you pick up multiple search phrases. Meta tags are not extremely important, but they can help some. The Meta description should be a sentence to a paragraph describing the page contents. The Meta description tag can be seen in some search results, so you want to write it for human eyes. The Meta keywords tag is probably not worth the time to make, but if you do, it should contain your primary keyword and its common misspellings and synonyms. Each keyword phrase in the keywords tag should be comma separated.
Use a single, keyword-rich H1 header on your page containing the same the primary keyword phrases. This helps reinforce the page title. Use keyword-rich sub headers (H2 or H3) before every paragraph or every few paragraphs. This improves usability and helps define what the page is about to search engines without making the page look like it was written for a search engine. Use bulleted lists and bolding to make content easier to read. Write your content for human consumption. If you write all your sentences for search engines, the pages will read bad and nobody will read them.